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James77 12-20-2012 06:26 PM

Wiring multiple motion sensors to turn on on circuit of lights
This is for a hallway in a 3 family, 3 level home. Currently I have separate outdoor motion lights at each landing. These work ok, but require my tenants walking down the stairs somewhat in the dark while they get in range.

I would like to wire motion sensors at each level so that triggering anyone of them would turn on a circuit of lights throughout the entire hallway. Wiring is easy, and I will be running the light wire this weekend. I have read of using a relay, are these sold ready to wire?

TTW 12-20-2012 07:28 PM

How about using those infrared wall switches mounted on the walls where people walk by?

You know, those doohickies that turn the lights on in a room automatically when you walk in. They still startle me every time.

TTW 12-20-2012 07:31 PM

These will turn on 2 circuits at the same time.

James77 12-20-2012 09:08 PM

Those might work, thanks for the reply :)

Actually thinking about it may just be 10 times easier and marginally more expensive electric usage wise to run CFL continuously on a timer. I'd have 6 total for the front and back halls at 13 watts each for 12 hours a day. I'd be looking at about $40/year in electric that to the cost of 6 sensors ( $120) plus some type of realy, and the extra wiring.....kind of chump change when I come down to it.

frenchelectrican 12-20-2012 09:21 PM

I have one question due you mention outdoor luminaries do this luminaires are on the " House " circuit or it come from the tentent circuit?


James77 12-20-2012 09:33 PM

They are actually on various tenants electric circuits, there is no "house" circuit as of yet. The 1st floor gets the basement lighting, the 2nd gets the back hallways, the 3rd the front hallways....but they are all full aware of this and realized it prior to renting the apartments. I always strive to save them a few bucks when I can, but the lighting really is pennies when you come down to it, they get the benefit of the best landlord in the world for it :)

I am planning out how to rewire the entire house along with adding a 4th unit to the basement in the process. I have to deal with brick fire stops though....ugh I am dreading it.

AllanJ 12-21-2012 11:05 AM

One thing that has been done is running a 3 conductor cable (neutral, raw hot, switched hot) to daisy chain together all of the lights. Interconnect the switched hot (sensor to lamp socket) for the various lights using the red wire.

When any of the sensors switches on, the red wire will be energized for all of the lights.

Do not tie the neutral of this lighting subcircuit to the neutrals of more than one branch circuit and do not tie the raw hot to the hot of more than one branch circuit or to a different branch circuit than that of the neutral.

This does not work with all brands of motion sensors so you have to take a chance.

Some motion detectors that are not part of light fixtures and fit into ordinary switch boxes have fragile parts that have been known to get damaged by persons thinking that they are regular switches and trying to turn the light off (or on if the light did not turn on quickly enough).

oberkc 12-21-2012 12:17 PM

I use "insteon" automation in my house. This would easily allow adding multiple motion sensors (battery operated) at any point and linking to any number of insteon switches (replacing existing light switches). X-10 used to have something similar, and I assume Z-wave does, as well. For this to work, obviously, all motion sensors would have to be within RF range of all switches.

Perhaps adding night lights or efficent lighting would be less expensive.

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